Reports: Feds face required vaccination
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jul 28, 2021
Federal employees across all agencies will soon face mandatory COVID vaccination—or, in the alternative, regular and repeated testing.
This breaking news—as initially reported by the Washington Post, CNN and the Wall Street Journal—comes amid a continuing mid-summer slowdown in voluntary vaccinations across the country, especially in the South and Midwest, and an accompanying rapid rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations due to the fast-spreading “delta” variant.
To date, the new wave is particularly dangerous—and killing swathes of people—only in specific regions and cities, reports say. That unfortunate situation is occurring in areas with lower vaccination rates. But unless far more of the population gets the shot, scary projections of up to several thousand deaths per day by October appear plausible.
The new vaccination requirement for feds will likely come with exemptions for religious and health reasons.
The renewed push to vaccinate more feds follows the issuance of such a requirement specific to clinical workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as increasingly stringent inoculation policies recently put in place by two states crushed by COVID in previous waves—New York and California. It also parallels the CDC’s issuance of a renewed push—in fact, a reversal—toward recommending far more mask-wearing, notably "in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission," conditions occurring in more of the country each day now.
The Washington Post story notes that pushing to inoculate just about all federal employees would be a big step. The pool of feds—including Postal Service employees—who would come directly under the mandate is estimated to be over 4 million. Ripple effects, and possible follow-on vaccination campaigns and additional efforts in the private and non-profit federal sector could touch an estimated 6 million-plus additional contractors and grantees. (The vaccination regulation, according to reports, will not apply to the military.)
The bottom line is that the federal government—even without including contractors—remains the country’s largest employer. This new and stronger push against COVID from within it could help to curb COVID outside it, too.